For some companies, doors will be opened to the family of staff on 31 August, in anticipation of the Teachers’ Day school holiday. At DDB Asia Singapore and Lions Befrienders, family of staff will have the chance to experience and learn more about the employees’ work and its environment and also take part in the activities organised by the companies for the special day. Meanwhile, local hospitality company, Sun and Earth Pte Ltd, which manages D’Kranji Farm Resort, has planned a farm tour, prawn fishing, and plant potting workshop at their premise for their employees a time to bond with their family.
It will be the first time these companies are organising “Bring Your Family to Work” Day in celebration of the inaugural My Family Weekend initiative by the Families for Life Council, happening from 31 August to 3 September 2017.
Why Bring the Family to Work
Explaining the rationale behind its first “Bring Your Family to Work” Day, Acting Executive Director of Lions Befrienders, Mr Michael Foo said, “This allows family members to gain insight into our working environment and have a better understanding of the kind of work that we do on an everyday basis. We hope that through this initiative, employees can build a closer bond with their family members.”
Mr Dhillon Singh, Resort Manager at D’Kranji Farm Resort lauds the family-friendly initiatives at the workplace. “This helps the employees feel more focused at work. Rather than being just a job, he or she has a greater sense of ownership at work because of better employee engagement and work-life integration,” he said. While the D’Kranji Farm Resort staff finish their shift after the activities, their family members can opt to stay on and spend the day on the farm, prawn fishing or cycling around the resort.
Centred Employees, Improved Productivity
Over at OCBC Bank, a “Bring Your Children to Work” Day will be organised by the bank's Consumer Financial Services (CFS) group on 31 August in celebration of My Family Weekend. Employees from the CFS group can sign up for the event and have their children enjoy sports activities, a carnival with yummy snacks, interactive booth games and exciting face-painting. They will also be treated to a movie screening and get the chance to tour their parents’ office and see them in action.
Mr Sunny Quek, OCBC Head of Branch & Premier Banking, said, “When my days at the office are long, my children will ask my wife where I am and what I’m doing. From time to time, I do try to share with them about what I do for work, but explaining to children about banking can be challenging. So, “Bring Your Children To Work” Day is the best way for my children to see their dad in action!”
To sweeten the deal, employees will get to leave work by 4pm on 31 August, thanks to the company’s family-friendly initiative, “My Flexi Hour”. Introduced in 2013, My Flexi Hour lets employees leave work earlier every Friday at 5.30pm. In celebration of My Family Weekend, OCBC will be bringing forward this initiative by one day on Thursday. One such employee who will definitely be making full use of this initiative is Ms Julie Foo, Vice President, Group Corporate Banking who said, “Having this extra time means a lot to me. Not only will I have time to sit down and have a leisurely meal, but my family and I will have time for other activities too. Sometimes, we will go to Changi beach for a walk or catch a movie as a family.”
Commenting on this initiative, OCBC head of HR Planning, Ms Jacinta Low said, “It gives employees the time to attend to personal and family commitments and underscores the importance that OCBC Bank places on work-life balance.” A strong proponent of family-friendly initiatives, OCBC Bank has introduced several such initiatives including flexible work arrangements, PSLE leave, and other leave schemes that allow employees to spend time with their families.”
As a means of employee engagement, family-friendly practices go a long way in fostering happier employees with high morale and job satisfaction, which in turn benefits productivity. At DDB Asia Singapore, they adopt a people-first mantra – recognising the importance of taking time off and spending quality time with the family. The company believes that a good workplace culture that supports family life and a family-friendly working environment directly affects a company’s bottom line – when staff are engaged, they are more motivated to give their best and stay on at their job.
Lions Befrienders also offers family-friendly options such as flexi-time, telecommuting, and part-time work arrangements. Said Mr Foo, “The family-friendly arrangements that we offer help us to achieve a high level of engaged and motivated workforce; which in turn leads to a positive impact for the organisation.”
Echoing his sentiment, Mr Singh sees the importance of employers having family-friendly practices in place. He said, “If a company does not understand the core value of family, then you will just get employees who will go through the motion of work, rather than being happy, grounded productive staff.”
From ‘Bring Your Family to Work” Day to allowing employees to leave work early so they can have dinner with their families, these companies have shown that family-friendly initiatives need not be extensive or elaborate. It’s the little things that employers do to show their appreciation that allow employees to have the time to bond and connect with their families while building a motivated and happy workforce.
Photos of activities by Sun and Earth Pte Ltd